Thursday, March 27, 2014

A lot of political and a little lung news

Tuesday morning, 3/25 I had the "clean out" bronchoscopy. While my breathing is still labored with exertion, it is much better than the weekend or before the bronch--and I don't think breathing is subject to the placebo effect. My Surgeon, Dr. Jim Maloney, and his Fellow, Dr. Susan Ferguson, spoke with Bonnie while I was still out, and she says they seemed positive. We were in Thursday, 3/27 for a chest x-ay, pulmonary function test, 6-minute walk and clinic appointments. I saw Dr. Ferguson and she said the lung looked better than they expected. The stent is working to keep the airway open, and they are hopeful it is building scar tissue which will strengthen the area to prevent the dynamic collapse. But it also appears to be the problem, as it collects mucus and blocks air coming in. She proscribed an addition saline nebulizer to use twice a day. It takes about a half hour each time, but seems to be helping thin the mucus. The bronch I just had helped clear some of that, thus the improved breathing. So they have scheduled another clean out bronchoscopy for next week on Thursday, 4/3, and left the surgical bronchoscopy in place for 4/11. Meanwhile, I still have Rehab 3 times a week, of course. I still think I'm winning this thing, but the fight goes on. ~Bob

Excerpt: Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula launched a deadly attack earlier today that killed 20 Yemeni soldiers in an eastern province that has become a major battleground over the past several years.

Afghanistan Is Doing Better Than You Think. By Michael O'Hanlon
Excerpt: In the minds of most Americans—and perhaps most members of Congress, too—the war in Afghanistan is already long since lost. Spasms of violence like Thursday’s attack on the Serena Hotel in Kabul, a popular haunt for Western expatriates, only seem to underscore the country’s ongoing fragility after more than 12 years of frustrating, grinding conflict. And periodic anti-American eruptions from Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan’s often difficult president, have made it harder still to persuade the U.S. public that things here are better than they seem from afar. (A much more positive view of the country than we've seen before. I hope that the writer really knows what he's talking about, and maybe in the end, lots of people living there are getting more security. And just maybe the Taliban will wind down and become only an occasional attack that really doesn't change anything in the country. I'm not sure at all that this is really the case and that our departure will not bring on a very messy situation. To have spent so much of our blood there, not to mention the billions of dollars, and not have achieved anything would be a horrible disappointment. And what would happen to women in general and anyone who worked with us or for us is not something I want to think about. So let's all pray the writer is on point and that we can hope for a good situation to come about in Afghanistan. --Del. my view: "When the Taliban Comes Back." ~Bob)

NJ Legislature Raised Taxes On Wealthy, But Wealthy Vetoed With Their Feet
Excerpt: New Jersey’s high taxes may be costing the state billions of dollars a year in lost revenue as high-earning residents flee, according to a recent study. […] The study shows the state has been steadily losing high-net-worth residents since 2004, when Democratic Gov. Jim McGreevey signed the millionaire’s tax into law.

High Tax States Are Losing Billions
Excerpt: Using adjusted gross income (AGI) as a proxy for wealth, Brown found that a number of states, primarily those with relatively high state income tax burden saw very large movements of money outside their borders, with much of it moving to low-tax jurisdictions. For instance, Brown’s data shows that between 1992 and 2010, there was a net outflow of income totaling $68.1 billion from New York State, where the top income tax rate is 8.82 percent. About $19 billion of that money went to Florida alone, one of the few states with no income tax.

Iran Resumes Financial Assistance to Hamas
Excerpt: Facing increasing pressure from Egypt and deteriorating economic conditions in Gaza, Hamas has been flirting with the notion of re-entering the Iranian camp. Now, Al-Monitor is reporting that Iranian monetary aid has officially resumed to Hamas, but at a lower level than that it provided before ties between the two broke. 

'Huge Success' Being 'Vilified.' From The Patriot Post
"Never in my lifetime have I seen a law that is helping so many people be so vilified," complained Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA). "This is a huge success, this law." How successful? Well, a report released in time for ObamaCare's four-year anniversary Sunday indicates just the opposite. The American Action Forum sums it up: "From a regulatory perspective, the law has imposed more than $27.2 billion in total private sector costs, $8 billion in unfunded state burdens, and more than 159 million paperwork hours on local governments and affected entities. What's more troubling, the law has generated just $2.6 billion in annualized benefits, compared to $6.8 billion in annualized costs. In other words, the ACA has imposed 2.5 times more costs than it has produced in benefits." We'd say the law is doing a fine job of vilifying itself.

Aborted Babies Incinerated. From The Patriot Post
The London Telegraph has a new report on grizzly details of what's happening in Britain's health system: "The bodies of thousands of aborted and miscarried babies were incinerated as clinical waste, with some even used to heat hospitals, an investigation has found." According to the findings, 27 National Health Service trusts incinerated more than 15,000 babies just over the last two years, often as part of the "waste to energy" program these "hospitals" are using. Health minister Dr. Dan Poulter called the practice "totally unacceptable," but such detached-from-reality practices are far more common in Britain than anyone cares to admit. And we shouldn't expect any different in societies that implement socialized medicine while devaluing the lives of the unborn through abortion on demand.

Loud + Weak = War: China and Russia are no more impressed with empty bluster today than Japan was in 1941. By Victor Davis Hanson
Excerpt: The Roosevelt administration once talked loudly of pivoting to Asia to thwart a rising Japan. As a token of its seriousness, in May 1940 it moved the home port of the Seventh Fleet from San Diego to Pearl Harbor — but without beefing up the fleet’s strength. The then-commander of the Pacific Fleet, Admiral James O. Richardson, an expert on the Japanese Imperial Navy, protested vehemently over such a reckless redeployment. He felt that the move might invite, but could not guard against, surprise attack.

Bloomberg vs. the Koch Brothers. By Daniel Greenfield 
Excerpt: And who is funding the $3 million Reid ad campaign denouncing out-of-state billionaires for spending millions to influence politics? Is it grass roots Louisiana voters or local kindergarteners pitching in their pennies to stop the rampage of the billionaires? The single biggest donor to Senate Majority PAC is an out-of-state billionaire. Michael Bloomberg donated $2.5 million this year. 

Notorious leader of Ukraine’s protests shot dead. Circumstances are in dispute.
Excerpt: Oleksandr Muzychko, an ultra-nationalist member of Ukraine’s recent protests who was wanted in Russia for alleged war crimes, was shot dead late Monday in the western Ukrainian city of Rivne, according to reports by Russian news outlets, RT and Interfax.

Republicans and Blacks. By Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: The issue on which Democrats are most vulnerable, and have the least room to maneuver, is school choice. Democrats are heavily in hock to the teachers' unions, who see public schools as places to guarantee jobs for teachers, regardless of what that means for the education of students. There are some charter schools and private schools that have low-income minority youngsters equaling or exceeding national norms, despite the many ghetto public schools where most students are nowhere close to meeting those norms. Because teachers' unions oppose charter schools, most Democrats oppose them, including black Democrats up to and including President Barack Obama.

US appeals court upholds new Texas abortion rules
Excerpt: A federal appeals court has upheld Texas' tough new abortion restrictions.
A panel of judges at the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals issued the ruling Thursday.

The Insiders: More Obamacare lies, no one is surprised
Excerpt: if she was going to delay the open enrollment period for Obamacare beyond the already-extended deadline of March 31. She answered very plainly, “No sir.” Rep. Brady didn’t ask Sec. Sebelius because he didn’t know the answer. The HHS has already delayed various deadlines multiple times. The question was asked to see if Sec. Sebelius would finally tell the truth. She did not. No one was surprised.

Persecution of American Christians
Excerpt: Whenever the idea of Christian persecution in America comes up in a conversation with a liberal, their first reaction is often a sarcastic snort and a condescending eye roll. “Persecution? Of a group of people who are in the majority and vocally active in everyday life? That’s dumb.” This is a red herring. It’s true that persecution in America is unlike persecution in other parts of the globe, but that does not make the persecution that we deal with any less real. We don’t deal with the threats of imminent death or worries of our churches being attacked by jackbooted thugs… but we do deal with government directed discrimination and media driven stereotyping of who we are. And if you don’t believe that persecution against Christians exists in America?

AP Poll: Obama Disapproval Rises to 59 Percent, A New High. Guy Benson 
Excerpt: Nearly six in ten Americans now disapprove of President Obama's job performance, with just 41 percent giving him a thumbs-up. 

Harry Reid: I don’t recall accusing Republicans of lying about ObamaCare horror stories
Excerpt: Maybe, from moment to moment, this guy just … doesn’t realize what’s coming out of his mouth. Hard to believe he could forget saying on the Senate floor that all ObamaCare horror stories — all of them — are a GOP/Koch brothers fairy tale designed to besmirch the stellar reputation of the Affordable Care Act. Those remarks got heavy coverage in conservative media, and even got picked up at WaPo

Excerpt: The Federal Election Commission has sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s campaign, asking for more information on why he listed an expenditure of more than $11,000$16,000 in “holiday gifts.”The gifts, I have learned, were purchased from his granddaughter, Ryan Elisabeth Reid, who is a jewelry vendor in Berkeley, CA. The gifts were later passed on to donors and supporters, a Reid spokeswoman told me.

CA Democrat's Alleged Arms Trafficking Scheme Linked to Islamist Rebels. By Joel Pollak
Excerpt: The 137-page, FBI-sworn affidavit against California State Sen. Leland Yee, a Democrat who is also running for Secretary of State, and over two dozen other individuals reads like a crime thriller.

Untruthful and Untrustworthy Government: The massaging of critical data undermines our society. By Victor Davis Hanson
Excerpt: The Benghazi, Associated Press, and National Security Agency scandals are scary, but not as disturbing as growing doubts about the honesty of permanent government itself.
It is no longer crackpot to doubt the once impeccable and nonpartisan IRS. When it assured the public that it was not making decisions about tax-exempt status based on politics, it lied. One of its top commissioners, Lois Lerner, resigned and invoked the Fifth Amendment.

Davis profited from government bond work
Excerpt: As state Sen. Wendy Davis prepared to launch her campaign for governor last fall, her law firm was busy providing legal advice on a $109 million bond issue for Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. It marked one of about 20 bond deals for which Newby Davis PLLC has served as co-bond counsel on for the airport since Davis, a Democrat, and partner Brian Newby — Republican Gov. Rick Perry's former chief of staff — started their firm in Fort Worth in 2010.

More than half of top posts in key ObamaCare agency are vacant or held by 'acting' caretakers
Excerpt: Eighteen of the 32 top management jobs in the federal agency that is "ground zero" for running Obamacare are either vacant or filled on an acting basis. The agency is the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight. Its problems start at the top. (The very top. ~Bob)

Administration to cancel Hellfire and Tomahawk missile programs
Excerpt: Let’s start with a simple question. What happens when a soldier runs out of ammunition during a firefight? First, he either retreats, or he quickly becomes killed, wounded or captured. Second, his tactical position converts from active to indefensible which imperils the strategic array of the entire battlefield. What do you call a submarine that runs out of torpedoes? Missing in action. That’s an old Navy joke that dates back to WWII. However the fundamental military concept remains true: without the ability to attack your enemy and inflict serious damage, you’re unable to influence any subsequent events on the battlefield.

The Somber News of Mike Lowe at the Red Purple Heart Rock. By Andy Weddington
Excerpt: About the time I finished reading the names my iPhone alerted to incoming mail. A longtime friend was delivering sad news - a mutual friend of 33 years died the night before.

Meanwhile, Libya Descends Into Chaos
Excerpt: The Obama administration came into power arrogantly proclaiming the dawn of “smart power,” by which they meant the mere force of Barack Obama's personality would settle all international disputes and restore peace and calm to the world. The real result of this na├»ve bravado, however, has been that America is less feared and less respected. Russia has begun rebuilding the Soviet empire, Iran and North Korea pursue nuclear weapons with impudence, Syria flaunts international bans on chemical weapons, and our allies no longer believe the U.S. is trustworthy.

Excerpt: It’s a 2,700 page bill. There are 20,000 pages of regulations. Major provisions seem to change every other week. And despite Nancy Pelosi’s promise, four years after it passed most of us still aren’t sure about everything that’s in it. How can something like that possibly be fixed? It’s easier than you might suppose. Previously, I recommended four simple ideas: Replace all the ObamaCare mandates and subsidies with a universal tax credit that is the same for everyone. Replace all the medical savings accounts with a Roth Health Savings Account (after-tax deposits and tax free withdrawals). Allow Medicaid to compete with private insurance, with everyone having the right to buy in or get out. Denationalize and deregulate the exchanges and require them to institute change of health status insurance.

Unruly Progressives: Why it’s so hard to make progressives live up to their own rules. By Jim Geraghty
Excerpt: But Democrats are given a wide, wide berth for comments they themselves would be quick to label racist. South Carolina Democratic chairman Dick Harpootlian, for example, urged his party to “send Nikki Haley back to wherever the hell she came from.” (That would be Bamberg, S.C., but her parents were Sikh immigrants from India.) Last year, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel asked an Indian man at a university Q&A if he was a member of the Taliban.

The Environmentalist World War. By Daniel Greenfield
Excerpt: The Saudi Monarchy and Putin aren’t afraid of Barack Obama or even of an F-35; they’re afraid of fracking. Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed Bin Talalsaid that “North American shale gas production is an inevitable threat.” And Putin suddenly turned into an environmentalist when it came to fracking warning that it makes “black stuff comes out of the tap.” The Russians and the Saudis are both threatened by American energy production for economic reasons and political reasons. 

Illinois Democrat’s Home Raided In Child Pornography Investigation
Excerpt: When Illinois Democrat Keith Farnham resigned from the State Legislature last Wednesday citing “health reasons” no one suspected his “health” problem was kiddie porn

The Poor Are Not Getting Poorer
Excerpt: The rich may be getting richer, but the poor are definitely not getting poorer. In fact, most Americans got richer over the last 35 years. President Obama likes to stress that income inequality has increased in the United States, but it is hardly "the defining challenge of our time," as he has called it, says Ronald Bailey, a science correspondent for Reason Magazine. Brookings Institution economist Gary Burtless used data from a December 2013 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) study to show that from 1979 to 2010 (this was the last year with available data) the bottom quintile's after-tax income in constant dollars rose by 49 percent. For the second lowest, middle and fourth quintile, those incomes increased by a respective 37 percent, 36 percent and 45 percent. ... In fact, a study by the U.S. Treasury looked at income mobility from 1987 to 1996 and from 1996 to 2005. Over half of taxpayers moved to a different income quintile during that time. And half of taxpayers who started in the bottom quintile moved to a higher income group by the end of each time period.

Cardinal Burke: Obama’s policies are ‘progressively more hostile toward Christian civilization’
Excerpt: Burke did not mince words in responding to a question about the Catholic reaction to President Obama’s attack on religious freedom, especially through policies such as the controversial HHS mandate. “He appears to be a totally secularized man who aggressively promotes anti-life and anti-family policies,” said Burke. “Now he wants to restrict the exercise of the freedom of religion to freedom of worship, that is, he holds that one is free to act according to his conscience within the confines of his place of worship but that, once the person leaves the place of worship, the government can constrain him to act against his rightly-formed conscience, even in the most serious of moral questions.”

Holder: Pre-School Teachers Now Racist, Too
Excerpt: Almost every week now, we learn from this administration of another racist conspiracy in America. The latest involves preschool teachers who secretly scheme to single out black tots for punishment. The administration put out a new report Friday showing black youngsters make up 18% of kids enrolled in preschool but almost half the preschoolers suspended more than once. It suggested this was part of a racist conspiracy to start criminalizing black youths as toddlers. (OK, here we go again, the statistics say that Black kids have more problems than other races, so that MUST mean there is racism amongst those working with the kids. Problems that relate to social conditions are only to be expected, and simple correlation does mean anything when applied inappropriately, as the race fanatics keep doing. Problems will not be solved, but only made worse, by false conclusions drawn by racial politics. --Del. They also claim that it is racist to point out FBI statistics that blacks are 13% of the population, but commit 53% of the murders. Facts are racist. But in my view, it is racist to cover this up and not address the problem, because the vast majority of the victims are also black. Their deaths don't matter to those who cover for black thugs out of "racial sensitivity." Yes, I know that "thug" is yet another recently-discovered racist code word. Well, I call the Aryan Brotherhood in the prisons thugs too--and their diversity recruitment program is notoriously weak. ~Bob)

NYT reporter: Obama administration the ‘greatest enemy of press freedom’ in a generation
Ecerpt: New York Times reporter James Risen called the Obama administration “the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation” on Friday, explaining that the White House seeks to control the flow of information and those that refuse to play along “will be punished.” Poynter reports that Risen made the remarks while speaking at Sources and Secrets conference — a meeting of journalism and communication professionals held in New York City. The foreign policy reporter, who is currently fighting a fierce court battle with the federal government over his protection of a confidential source, warned that press freedom is under serious attack in today’s America. (While FLOTUS lectures the Communist Chinese on Freedom of Speech. Pot calling kettle black. Oops. After it came out POTUS sees questions prior to “news conference” and frequently questions are determined by White House and certain reporters earmarked to ask them, i.e., entire thing staged to look real, when, in fact, PRAVDA lives in Amerika. --Barb)

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